Win­ning ways with bed­ding

GN ex­pert Gra­ham picks out some early con­tenders for his bed­ding plant of the year

Garden News (UK) - - Contents -

Iwas at a vil­lage fete ear­lier in the sum­mer with a par­tic­u­larly good plant stall. In place of the usual spi­der plants in yo­ghurt pots, there were dwarf bam­boos, aga­pan­thus and the very re­fined, name­drop­ping wor­thy re­gal pelargo­nium ‘Lord Bute’, with its moody, deep crim­son flow­ers.

I’ve grown this be­fore, but needed a re­place­ment plant and there they were for a pound each along­side a big plant to show us how they grow. How­ever, this year I’ve been grow­ing the El­e­gance se­ries of re­gals and, if I’m hon­est, his Lord­ship just can’t com­pete for flower or stay­ing power with these. I bought my plants as rooted cut­tings last year, over­win­tered in the house on a north-fac­ing win­dow, pot­ted on in April in the green­house and by June they were flow­er­ing fit to bust. Fab­u­lous for gar­den dis­plays right up to the frosts.

Other beauties that have me im­pressed al­ready are the hot-coloured bidens. These make the old sin­gle, yel­low ones look a lit­tle dated, though in their de­fence I must say their vigour and sunny blooms make them ideal part­ners to com­pete with the likes of Surfinia petu­nias in con­tain­ers and beds.

My mother hit upon a clas­sic when she let bidens ‘Beedance Painted Red’ trail down a pot rim into dwarf yel­low cos­mos ‘Xan­thos’ in the bor­der be­low. Have you a sim­i­lar con­tainer that could be moved and min­gle?

Fi­nally, the petu­nia that ev­ery­one is talk­ing about, ‘Baby Doll’. If you’ve grown ‘Night Sky’ you’ll know what to ex­pect; flow­ers marked as though they’ve been paint-dripped on by a dodgy dec­o­ra­tor! This time the blooms are sparkling pink on plants more com­pact than its blue cousin.

Bidens and cos­mos get it to­gether!

Petu­nia ‘Baby Doll’ is hard to ig­nore

Re­gal pelargo­nium ‘Im­pe­rial’ from the new El­e­gance se­ries

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